At your service

Quality of service is always a big talking point within the glass and glazing industry, and many organisations are quick to point out that it is one of their leading priorities as a business.

But what exactly constitutes great service? Is it fast lead times or a strong OTIF score? Is it the capacity to answer customer phone calls or emails efficiently?

Or is it the ability to truly see things from your customer’s perspective, to really understand the impact of missing items on an order, or damaged product, and to be able to respond in a way that enables them to communicate effectively to an end user and win a positive review?

Are some companies guilty of relaxing their customer service standards when business is booming and is outstanding service really as important as other factors in a business relationship – at the end of the day, does it all really boil down to price?

These questions – and more – were part of a recent roundtable discussion that was organised by Business Pilot, the cloud based CRM software designed specifically for installers, and co-hosted by hardware company, VBH (GB).

Other industry representatives included installation firm, Thames Valley Window Company, smart hardware brand, Kubu, award winning fabricator, Everglade, and industry accounting specialist, Clever Bean Accounting.

The points raised during the discussion were extremely valuable, and highlighted just how important customer service is to the entire supply chain, especially as a way for companies to differentiate their offering in a more challenging marketplace when there can be an overwhelming temptation to sell on price.

One particularly interesting take home from the debate, raised by Thames Valley’s Ryan Schofield, is that selling on price is an issue that’s not exclusive to installers – indeed, price driven marketing is an industry wide issue, from the top down.

With that in mind, the discussion also underlined how important it is for suppliers who are sometimes two or three steps removed from consumers, to help installers enhance their customer service, especially if they do not have the resources to do so themselves.

As Business Pilot’s Elton Boocock explained, this could be through a combination of support, helping them to understand and use the products you have supplied; service, offering practical assistance when required; and care – providing a level of service, not because you have to, but because it’s in your company’s culture to do so. Ultimately, if you genuinely care for your customers, then great service will be second nature.

Finally, if you can introduce innovative customer service initiatives, ones that can take the pressure of installers – and fabricators – then that is obviously no bad thing.

VBH, for example, has recently launched three new product guarantees that are designed to gives its customers – and homeowners – peace of mind. But, uniquely, they have also been developed so that VBH deals directly with end users, including the requirement for servicing schedules as part of the warranty.

For more details, keep a look out for a full feature article in the June issue of Glass Times.